Diary

Governor Sean Parnell (R-Alaska)

Here’s some excerpts from a presser he did yesterday in Anchorage: http://community.adn.com/adn/node/142631

Unlike some recent Alaska governors, Gov. Parnell is a thoroughly low-key, conservative, in several senses of that word, Republican politician.  There will be no glitz and no flash-bangs in a Parnell Administration; the guy probably has pin stripe PJs.  I did not support him when he ran against Don Young because I thought he was just going along with then-Governor Palin’s opposition to all things Republican.  His half-hearted campaign certainly demonstrated little commitment to getting elected.  That said, I like the guy.

I worked for him in ’97 when he was co-chair of Senate Finance.  I had been engaged by the Finance Committees to draft and carry an extensive revision of Alaska’s Public Employment Relations Act.  The 1972 PERA is public employee bargaining the way unions would have it in their dreams.  It started life as AFL-CIO model legislation and has been very little amended.  It is so valuable to Alaska unions that they would, and have, risk all their political capital to protect it.  Needless to say, union and Democrat opposition was intense and we had a Democrat governor so we had to cover two-thirds to deal with a veto; that was the game, the bill could not move unless we could get chits on the over-ride.  Sen. Parnell and his co-chair and Sen. President, Drew Pearce, got that bill passed by the Senate, something we couldn’t do in the House even though we had a veto-proof Republican majority.  It took guts on Parnell’s part because getting cross-threaded with the unions has serious implications for your future electoral success; they never forget your doing something they don’t like.  He will face some of them in contract negotiations before he comes up for re-election in ’10.

Gov. Parnell is personally a religious social conservative but like most Alaska Republicans, he is unlikely to pursue a socially conservative political agenda.  Alaska is much more libertarian than conservative and the electorate here doesn’t like being told how to live by either the left or the right.  His administration will not allow the liberals to further their social agenda but they’re unlikely to do much beyond the symbolic to all the conservatives to advance their agenda.  On social issues, “leave me alone” is the best position here.

On defense issues, even the Democrats here have to at least talk like they’re pro-military.  Gov. Parnell will be reliably pro-military and pro-strong national defense.

As I’ve discussed before, no governor of Alaska is a conservative of the sort that most of you would recognize; Alaska is a socialist state with pretty much a command economy if a governor wants to exercise that command.  He can be expected to hold the line on government spending and growth but not take the axe to anything except as dictated by available revenue.  Economic life in Alaska is dictated by a simple formula: Revenue = Price X Production.  Production is declining and Alaska needs some new field development, something that will be opposed and obstructed by Comrade Obama and his Environazi friends at every step.  He has said he will go forward with the AGIA natural gas line, but he doesn’t have the personal involvement with it that Gov. Palin did, so he won’t ride it down.  Somebody is going to start saying out loud that the thing ain’t happening and Sarah Palin’s resume is no longer Sean Parnell’s problem.  He’s a former Conoco-Phillips employee and lobbyist, so he will be sensitive to Industry concerns about Palin’s windfall profits tax on the oil industry.

And finally, since he has never posed himself as a reformer and maverick, he will have much better relations with the Legislature, the Republican Party, and the many experienced Republicans around the State that have been effectively excluded from government during the Palin Administration because of their association with Gov. Murkowski and the Party establishment.  Since she had to be the un-Murkowski, Gov. Palin got rid of most of the appointees from the Murkowski Administration and replaced very few of them with experienced Republicans.  That left her administration the province of holdover Democrats, congenital ‘crats, and a few Wasilla neophytes.

So, it should be a peaceful and uneventful year and a half and continued Republican control of Alaska after the ’10 and ’12 elections.  By twelve we should be able to repair our party, get strong majorities again in both bodies, and get ready to retire the Boy Senator in ’14.